Chennai: The city’s arterial roads were a picture of contrast on Monday, polling day. The bumper-to-bumper movement of vehicles in the evening was absent.
Don’t be surprised. It took just 20 minutes to cover nearly 15 km, between Egmore and Ekkatuthangal via Mount Road, on Monday evening. Autorickshaw drivers had one more reason to thank the Election Commission for.
The polls, which took the fizz out of Chennai in every aspect of must-holiday-outings, also forced MTC run only skeletal services throughout the day while a majority of its employees were faithfully exercising their franchise.
The transport corporation which operates 3,531 buses along 806 designated routes from 32 bus depots in the city daily, could not operate every second bus from every depot due to staff-crunch.
The crew, which include drivers, conductors and technicians in depots, reported leave en-masse on Monday. Major turnout for duty was reported during the first shift between 6 am and 2 pm, and similar turn out for duty was reported in general shift which starts around 9 am, runs for about 10 hours, or extends up to the time taken to complete the number of mandatory services.
The worst turnout for duty was reported for the second shift, which starts at 2 pm and ends at 10 pm. The first and second shifts are generally earmarked for senior staff, Rhose who are on permanent rolls, while the general shift is usually forced on contract workers.
Almost the entire fleet of buses attached to Adyar, Mandaveli, Tiruvanmiyur, Vadapalani, Chromepet, and Tambaram depots did not ply during the second shift.
Officers of MTC were not available for comment. “Private buses operated point-to-point between Tambaram and Chengelpet while passengers wanting to get
down at stops on the way were denied a ride”, said Nelson of Urappakkam.
“An auto ride from Egmore to New Secretariat Complex cost `100. I waited for a bus to Mylapore from New Secretariat for the past one hour”, said Vivian of Mylapore....